INTRO: The book of Acts tells us of Jesus that there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Clearly, when we think or talk of salvation, we must give weighty consideration to Jesus. For about thirty-three years Jesus lived on this earth. Most of those years were lived in relative obscurity in Galilee. But for three and one half years Jesus was a very prominent figure in Galilee, Samaria and Judea. He taught as one having authority (Mt 7:29). He was known for the mighty works He did among the people (Lk 19:37). Still, there was a swirl of controversy around Him. The issue was simple: Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (Mt 16:13). And this remains the issue.
I. THE FACTS?
A. Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea - Lk 1:4-7
B. His earthly parents were humble people - Mt 13:55
C. He taught of the kingdom; he healed the sick - Mt 9:35
D. He was rejected by the religious establishment of His day - Jno 7:45-47
E. He spoke of His death & resurrection - Jno 2:19-21
F. He was arrested, tried & crucified - Jno 19:16-18
G. He was raised from the dead - Mt 28:1-6
H. He ascended to heaven - Acts 1:9
II. BUT WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ABOUT JESUS?
A. That a good man named Jesus did live in the first century?
1. various officials, historians have confirmed a man named Jesus lived then
2. believing that such a man lived is far from believing in Him
B. That Jesus was a prominent Jewish teacher, moralist?
1. many, many people acknowledge His noble, lofty moral, ethical teaching
2. but there have been other moralists, philosophers ... this is not enough
C. That Jesus was a teacher, prophet from God?
1. Mt 21:10,11 - such a belief has certainly been held by others
2. still, there have been the Elijahs, the Isaiahs, the Ezekiels ... they have come and gone - is this what you believe? that He has come, and gone ... thats that?
D. That Jesus teachings have made the world a better place?
1. yes, everywhere His teachings have gone it seems standards of living, morality, value of human life have been raised to new levels
2. and its good to appreciate that without Jesus our world might be a very dismal place - but where is this taking us relative to why He came? (recall that He said He came to seek and to save the lost (Lk 19:10)
III. WHAT DID JESUS SAY?
A. Jno 6:29 - Believe on Him as the One sent from God
1. having some vague belief about and sympathy toward him is not enough
2. yes, that may be the nature of the belief of many
3. but when salvation is the subject, a different belief is necessary
4. Jno 8:24 - this defines the issue very boldly!
B. Jno 14:6 - He is the only way to God
1. is the way to God important to us?
2. what we believe about Jesus will have everything to do with whether or not we safely arrive in Gods presence
3. if He is the only way, we need to begin some serious listening to Him!
C. Mt 20:28 - He came to give His life as a ransom for many
1. what He taught, what He did (miracles) were truly vital things
2. but everything looked toward His substitutionary death ... His life given for ours
3. He has done something for you no one else could/can do ... whether or not you believe this about Him will determine whether or not you receive the benefits of what He did
D. Jno 20:24-27 - ...behold my hands...
1. my guess is that Jesus hands were worn and calloused from His trade
2. but that is not what we should see ... we should see the nail scarred hands
3. Jesus has nothing to fear from the contemporary challenge of skeptics and atheists ... His hands still tell the story of His atoning death
CLOSE: So, what did the apostle John say? Jno 20:30,31 - He said plainly that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in Whom we must believe in order to have life! What do you believe about Jesus?
Cecil A. Hutson
27 April 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)